David George and Crystal
David and Crystal George

I wanted to share why I created a sunset calendar for 2018. My friend, David George, hired me to paint a large sunset image for his wife Crystal. He took photos of sunsets on his way home from work and told me how much she loved them. It was going to be a surprise for Christmas of 2016!

He sent me a whole dropbox of photos to choose from and it was a hard decision to pick which to paint. I ended up combining aspects from a few of them for the final piece. I enjoyed the process of painting it, because it was such a large horizontal canvas and I loved that it was a surprise gift!

Below is how the painting turned out. I used acrylic on a 4’x2’ canvas.

Sunset Painting by Julie Bonner
“Crystal’s Sunset” – Acrylic Painting by Julie Bonner

Crystal loved the painting.


A great idea

David also suggested I should create a Sunset Calendar because Crystal loved sunsets! In the past I had made a Desert Dwellers and Desert Flowers Calendar. I liked the sunset idea, but hadn’t even begun to think about a calendar for 2018 yet.

Fast forward to 2017 and my life was moving full speed – Before I knew it, it was already Fall 2017! Unfortunately around this time David was not feeling well. He had melanoma and it was aggressive. I didn’t realize at the time, but one of the last texts I sent to him was that he had inspired me to paint a sunset calendar.

David was a bright, colorful, and happy person. He was kind and thoughtful and wanted the best for his friends and family.

David is the reason I created the sunset calendar.

I reached out to Facebook friends and asked for their favorite sunset photos. Too bad I only had 12 images to paint, because there were so many beautiful photos to choose from. Maybe there will be another sunset calendar in the future! This whole project was a collaborative effort and I really have the best bunch of friends. For now – here are some of my friend’s stories about the photos they sent for me to paint:

Majestic Flight Painting
“Majestic Flight” –  Painting by Julie Bonner – Photo Inspiration from David Walker

Painting inspired by David Walker’s Photo – Jan 2018 Sunset Calendar

“I took this hiking behind my house near Ventana Canyon while walking a dog that is far more intelligent than I. It was one of those pre-monsoon evenings in mid-July where all the Gods will give you is air as thick as mud and teasing clouds. I was all for getting home and punishing my a/c when I noticed a very large buteo perched on a dying saguaro to my right. I took a few pics while he was perched but the lighting on him was pretty horrible. That and I was trying to subdue an unleashed border collie with the metabolism of a 14 year old on skittles and mountain dew. So, we all just watched the moonrise together for a few minutes until coyotes spooked said border collie, the hawk flew away, and I struggled to find the burst icon on my camera menu. Which apparently, I did. Even an idiot gets lucky sometimes.” – David Walker


Passionate Palms Painting
“Passionate Palms” –  Painting by Julie Bonner – Photo Inspiration Jeff Brack

Painting inspired by Jeff Brack’s Photo – Feb 2018 Sunset Calendar

“When I was still shooting 35 mm, I’d occasionally go out to try and catch a good sunset or lightning strike, both very difficult subjects that require a lot of luck. And then, completely by chance, was arriving back to my apartment at the time near Country Club & 3rd Street and this screaming blast of lava orange lit up my doorway and I was absolutely stunned when I turned to see the sky. Keep in mind, we have pretty extraordinary sunsets every day in Tucson, but this one was one of the elites. I ran and grabbed my camera and fired off a series of shots, desperately trying to bracket the exposures to make sure I captured it before it was gone. The result is not only a great representation of what frequently happens in the sky over the desert of Southern Arizona, but it’s by far my favorite sunset photo I’ve taken. I’m thrilled that Julie chose to paint it and the result is stunning as well!” Jeff Brack



Boy Jumping
“Sunset Splash!” Painting by Julie Bonner – Photo Inspiration by James Turpin

Painting inspired by James Turpin’s Photo – August 2018 Sunset Calendar

“This picture was taken August 13th, 2016 at sunset in Oro Valley, AZ. My son and I were swimming in my pool. There was some cloud cover and the sunset was very colorful. My son wanted me to watch him do cannonballs. I grabbed my iPhone and snapped a few shots. I really liked this one because my son’s silhouette is right in the center of the Sunset.” – James Turpin


Gate's Pass Painting by Julie Bonner
“Tucson Evening” – Painting by Julie Bonner – Photo Inspiration by Daniel Goers

Painting inspired by Daniel Goers’ Photo – November 2018 Sunset Calendar

“The photo was taken at Gate’s Pass. The place where my fiancé and I got engaged and our favorite sunset spot in all of Tucson. So, to us, the location encompasses love, color, depth and the beauty of the southwestern desert.” – Daniel Goers

Those are just a few of the images included in the 2018 calendars. I loved how I ended up painting images from Patagonia Lake, to Picacho Peak to Sonoita and so on! One thing my friends and I have in common is that we really love Arizona. Here’s a preview of all of the months:

2018 Sunset Wall Calendar by Julie Bonner
2018 Sunset Wall Calendar by Julie Bonner

If you’d like to have a Sunset Calendar there are available as a wall calendar and a desktop calendar.

Front of Desktop Calendar
November 2018 Deskto Calendar
November – Desktop Calendar




Thanks to everyone who contributed to this project:

David and Crystal George
Jeff Brack
David Walker
Jessica Knowlton
John Come
Michael Koerner
Chris Porter
James Turpin
Daniel Goers
Printed in Tucson at West Press

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